It’s been over a decade since guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with Midlands Metal pioneers Judas Priest, the highly publicised fallout causing seemingly irreparable damage between the two parties. However, every cloud has its silver lining and one positive thing to have come from this less than amicable parting of the ways is the emergence of KK’s Priest.
Two band names, three studio albums, one EP, a live album, and a change of vocalists. A lot has happened in the last few years for Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. From beginning life as a side project for the former Motörhead guitarist, performing covers under the somewhat less than attention-grabbing moniker of Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band, the band announced a much-needed name change the following year and the improvement was both noticeable and immediate.
As the dog-fighting solos of “Give Her To The River” battle across the sunlit horizon between your ears, flurries of shrapnel-barbed melodic notes and runs fired first from one side of your headphones then the other, for those of us who are battle-hardened Heavy Metal warriors it’s hard not to grin and surrender to the glory of the Ghost At The Gallows, for the Spirit Adrift has claimed another champion to its horde.
The Raven Age’sBlood Omen (Music For Nations) is a scorcher of an album. It’s an album that was played on repeat prior to any writing of reviewing. It was super easy to get into this album as it sounds like music I’ve heard before and enjoyed thoroughly. The beginning song ‘Changing of the Guard’ throws you off as its operatic, European, and very folklore driven in tone. It’s a beautiful introduction but is not in the same genre as the rest of the album.
Enforcer has had some solid success in their career with their easily accessible traditional Heavy Metal style. With some many bands going back to more old-school stylings it’s easy for bands to get lost in the shuffle. Enforcer has been able to stand out ahead of the pack with consistent material and commitment to their style. While the band has constantly gone on record to state that they aren’t merely an old-school retro act, their latest album, entitled Nostalgia (Nuclear Blast) seems to beg to differ.
Night Demon has done a tremendous job of bringing back the traditional sound of classic Heavy Metal back to the masses. Sure there are plenty of other bands that perform various styles of classic NWOBHM but Night Demon does it best.
A country known for producing some of the most extreme, experimental or just downright bizarre acts in metal, Japan has never really tended to show much interest in its more traditional or western influenced styles. A small but dedicated power metal scene certainly exists, yet remains arguably further underground than the likes of grindcore, noise, and hardcore punk.
In the battle for memorable metal, style or substance often battle for dominance. While Germany’s Crom may seem to lean more towards “style” in their sturdy and reliable brand of Trad/Power hybrid metal, the songs on the new release The Era Of Darkness (From The Vaults) also contain a strong measure of strength in the sword arm and fire in the heart.
I’ve always pictured the Stockholm-bound The Riven as the Swedish version of Thulsa Doom – similar vibes, similar undertones, and similar upbeat resonances. The RIven, as far as I observe, has always been influenced by the sounds from the golden age of classic rock; the 1970s and 1980s. Their sounds are genuinely hard-hitting, sharp-shooting, and they appear to be the kind of sounds that would make you want to headbang as the exciting memories in your head replay themselves in retrospect whilst you listen to them. In terms of genre classification, they might pass as heavy blues rock with progressive, psychedelic, and classical influences and a strong emphasis on menacing riffs as well as vigorous vocals.
The Gang’s All Here (earMUSIC) is the sixth album from New Jersey’s Skid Row. Of course, the gang in question is somewhat different from the one that emerged in the late eighties with Sebastian Bach at the helm. The core lineup of guitarists Dave “The Snake” Sabo and Scotti Hill plus bassist Rachel Bolan has remained since 1987, but many drummers and singers have come and gone since the band’s 1999 reformation. Rob Hammersmith has sat behind the kit since 2010, whilst former Swedish Idol winner Erik Grönwall only joined earlier this year, replacing ZP Theart.